Tornado victims in Washington IL give thanks in spite of loss

Despite the Tornado devastation, residents in Washington, IL said they have so much to be thankful for.

Volunteers and church members gathered at Crossroads United Methodist Church to prepare 1,200 meals today for families who lost their home in the tornado.

Families enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings, turkey, stuffing and pie for dessert.

Many lost material things but said they said the most important things remain; family and friends.

The Johnson Family lost everything in the tornado and barely made it to shelter before it hit.

“We have a lot to be thankful for,” Charles Johnson said. “It’s humbling, everyone’s working to put on a Thanksgiving. Usually we have it at our own home, and of course we don’t have that anymore, so we thank everybody. This community has been great, people have been great clear across the state and it is really humbling how generous people really are.”

Crossroads served as a Red Cross Shelter the day the tornado hit, housing hundreds of people until it was safe to go home.

Dozens of families have even made it their home in the days since.

The church’s pastor said their annual Thanksgiving dinner tradition takes on a new meaning this year.

“One of the things that has been impressive to me is not just to see the people who have lost so much grieve because I think we all grieve those losses, but more so to see them emphasize and be grateful for the things that survived, the thing that remained in tact,” Pastor Casey Taylor, Crossroads United Methodist Church. “Their families, their friends, their church families, the people in their community.”

In addition to providing dinner at the church, Crossroads also delivered hundreds of Thanksgiving meals to people throughout Washington.

WGN News Writer, Judith Ruiz-Branch contributed to this story.

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